The Atlantic City Crusaders picked up their first win of the spring American Soccer League season with a come from behind 3-2 win over the Evergreen Diplomats on Sunday at Silver Eagle Stadium, in Egg Harbor Twp, N.J.
The Crusaders went down early in the first half when midfielder Brian Graham's shot in the box went past Crusaders goalkeeper Ryan Gill in the 14th minute. The goal was the highpoint for the Diplomats who continually stopped AC's offensive attempts throughout the first part of the match.
For the second half, Coach Kyle Hall changed formations and used key substitutions to change the fortunes of the team. Sub Nico Tramontana scored the tying goal off a corner kick that landed at his feet and he got it pass the keeper in the 56th minute. However, Evergreen went back in front when former Philadelphia Fury forward Josh Challah collected a rebound and shot it past Gill seven minutes later to give the Diplomats a 2-1 lead.
Jake Mulinge equalized for AC in 77th after collecting another cross and putting it pass Evergreen keeper Tony Halterman from the run of play. Mulinge, another second half substitution, used his speed on the wing to continually build up play for the Crusaders the entire half. Late game sub Dan Covello scored the winner for AC in the 87th after a scramble in the box saw the ball go past the Halterman and sealed the win for AC.
The win gives the Crusaders a 5-3-2 overall record with 16 points this season while the Diplomats are now 4-8-0 with 12 points.
For Coach Hall, the subs who scored are what made the difference. "These guys train a lot of the time," Hall said. "I tell the players who sit on the bench, when you get on the field you have to make an impact. I couldn't ask for anything more."
The next match for AC will be part of doubleheader with sister club the Philadelphia Fury when they play ASL league leaders Western Mass Pro Soccer at Washington Township High School next Saturday at 5:30pm.